Chapter 9

Sam made a phone call to Lucy, and spent some time speaking to her. She was not surprised by his theory – in fact, she had inadvertently already begun making arrangements some time previously.

The next day they headed back the way they'd come. Dean kept a cannister of salt within arm's reach at all times. The bag of gingerbread turned out to be extremely useful; eating it kept Dean quiet, and each time he had a small panic attack at the thought of a drooling, farting, and above all dead dog suddenly appearing in his car, he had something close to hand to hyperventilate into.

They kicked around town for a couple of days, Sam nerding it up at the library, Dean eating gingerbread (like Max), making sad noises when his gingerbread was rationed (like Max) and chasing tail (not his own, unlike Max). When they got the call from Lucy, they headed back to her place.

As she opened the door to greet them, a smell assaulted their noses.

"Oh, dear, I'm so sorry, he's done it again," she began, "He did it when he heard you coming to the door, he's just so excitable…" As she spoke, a small black and tan furball streaked across the floor, barrelling into Sam's legs. It stopped, shook itself, and looked up at them.

Dean bent down to scratch the floppy ears. "So, who's this?"

"Zandrac Fallen Angel, all nine weeks of him," she said, "Also known as Samael. At least, he will be when he learns to come when he's called… Sam! Sam! Leave it!" she admonished the pup, as it started to chew on the hem of Sam's jeans, growling determinedly. "I only brought him home this morning, and he's been getting into everything. Just like Max did at that age." Dean looked up at his brother with hilarity on his face. Sam? He mouthed, grinning.

"Speaking of Max…?" prompted Sam, pointedly ignoring his brother's teasing.

"Oh, he's hanging around, you know, you can tell…" as Lucy spoke, a familiar pungent aroma suddenly overwhelmed the smell of a puppy's accident. Max appeared in the middle of the sitting room, tail wagging and old eyes dancing.

Sam the pup watched, entranced, and yipped at the old dog's ghost, trotting over and stretching up to sniff noses. Max made gentle whuffling noises. Lucy smiled.

"I held off getting another one, you know," she remarked, "When Max kept popping up, I thought it would be best to wait until he'd moved on. Silly of me, in hindsight."

"I think he was just worried about you," said Sam, "When he died, from his point of view, you were left alone, without any 'pack' any more. That's why he stayed around, and kept dropping in."

"Well, hopefully, now he's met the new kid on the block, he'll get the hint that his job here is done," said Dean, "Right Max?" At his name, Max looked up, sat and lifted a paw.

"Go on now, for real this time," Lucy urged him, smiling fondly, "Go find the rest of the pack, you stinky old fool. Go find Charlie! Go find Carl! Go home! Good boy!"

Barking excitedly, Max turned, and started to run. He headed through the kitchen, gathering speed, his barking and his form fading out, until when he hit the back door, he had disappeared. The truly appalling stench that had accompanied him dissipated completely. The pup turned his attention back to the hem of Sam's jeans.

"I wonder if they have gingerbread in doggy Heaven?" mused Dean.

"If they do, I hope they have charcoal biscuits, too," commented Lucy, disengaging the pup from his denim prey, "It exacerbated his tummy trouble something terrible."

"I think in doggy Heaven, you can probably eat as much gingerbread as you like, and never feel sick," decided Sam, "And you have all the Honky Ducks you can chew on."

"Speaking of which," said Lucy, pulling a rubber chicken toy from behind the sofa, "If you two could keep him occupied for me, I'll make us some coffee."

….. oOo …..

An hour later, the Winchesters disengaged puppy Sam from human Sam's trousers one last time, and set off back to South Dakota, Dean laden with what looked to Sam like a month's supply of gingerbread and apple tarts. For any normal person, anyway; it would probably last Dean about four days, but it was a lot of gingerbread nonetheless.

"What, Sam?" said Dean, seeing his brother look at him with suspicion when they finally pulled off the road and into the yard. "You okay, bro, or have you been overcome by the power of my awesomeness?"

"No," said Sam, "I'm just wondering what you're up to."

"Me? Up to?" Dean was all bewildered innocence.

"Yes. Up to. You haven't said a word about incontinent cats, hiring skunks or giving chapacubras the runs since we left Lucy's. Which makes me think you've made up your mind to do something to Bobby."

"I'm shocked, Sam, shocked and hurt that you'd think that," said Dean sadly, "You were right, I was being childish." Sam's face indicated that he wasn't buying any of it. "What, a guy can't change his mind? Look, you were right, okay, no harm done, the job's finished, my baby is safe, dog is in his Heaven, and at Lucy's place at least, all's as right with the world as it can be, for now. And seeing Cas get molested by a flatulent dog's ghost? Totally awesome, Sammy, that was inspired!" Sam was not impressed. "Come on, Sam, how stupid did I sound? There's no such thing as rent-a-skunk, right? And the ASPCA would complain if I put a cat in Bobby's room." He brought the car to a stop. "And, I hope you noticed that I didn't touch a single piece of the gingerbread that Lucy sent for Bobby."

"Dean, you've been eating gingerbread pretty much since we left Lucy's…"

"This is some that she made and packed up especially for Bobby, and I haven't touched it," said Dean, "Chocolate frosting, Sam, it's got chocolate frosting. Now, if I wanted to get back at him, wouldn't I have eaten the lot before we left Montana?" He rolled his eyes at Sam. "Come on, let's get inside, I got a feeling that Bobby would like to laugh at us up close and personal."

Sam glared at him across the roof of the car. "Dean," he said stern voice, "I want you to promise me, PROMISE me, that you are not going to let any animals loose in Bobby's house as some sort of stupid payback, just because you got slobbered on by a ghost."

"Sammy," said Dean in a serious voice, "I promise, I will not let loose any animals or creatures or beings, domestic or wild, known to science or not, dead alive or in-between, healthy or otherwise, in Bobby's house, Bobby's yard, or Bobby's general vicinity. Cross my heart and hope to make out with a dead dog. Would you like any further clauses added to that, Mr Lawyer?"

"Okay, that'll do. Let's get inside." Sam hefted his bag, threw Dean a last warning look, and headed for the house.

Dean picked up his own bag, and Bobby's gingerbread, then followed his brother, carefully wiping the smirk from his face. Of course he had no intention of releasing an animal in Bobby's house.

Why mess around with an animal?

It had been messy, but the half hour he had spent grinding up laxative pills, stirring them into the chocolate icing and carefully coating the gingerbread cookies had been totally worth it.

THE END